No one has the right to define the media as propaganda if it officially works on the territory of the state in its legal field, deputy director of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maxim Buyakevich said, commenting on the situation surrounding RT and Sputnik.
He continued on by saying that the Russian Foreign Ministry continues to “closely monitor the situation of Sputnik in France, the situation of RT in France”.
Buyakevich noted that “the French media in Russia enjoy absolute freedom of professional activity”.
Speaking about the possible use of symmetric measures by Russia against French journalists, the diplomat said that Russia would not want to use this right.
Senior French lawmaker Claude Malhuret claimed in July that news from Sputnik and RT was produced by agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) rather than journalists and called on the French government to ban the two media outlets.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Federation of Journalists has called on national regulators to deny RT Deutsch a broadcast license, claiming that the channel was a “tool for Kremlin propaganda”.
Sputnik and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan has repeatedly slammed the allegations against Russian media and the pressure put on the outlets abroad.
The situation with Russian media in the West has become increasingly difficult in recent years. In 2016, the European Parliament voted in favour of a resolution to counter alleged Russian anti-EU propaganda. According to the document, media such as Sputnik and RT pose a danger to European unity, therefore creating a need for extra European Commission funding for the counter-propaganda fight. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the resolution proved that Western democracy was failing, but expressed hope that common sense would prevail and Russian media outlets would be able to work abroad without restrictions.
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